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To live in my birth place in the 60's and 70's was very hard. It was a wild country side without electricity and filled with many outlaws, Agtatakaw ti Nuang, Saka Saka and Hukbalahap . The school was very far and we would have to walk 6km every morning over the rice padish and rice fields to go to school and do the same going back home in the afternoon. The nearest neighbor is about 3 kilometers there is always a fear in our heart during the night.
Hunting and Fishing For Food is my Hobbies: I started to learn and hunt for food at a very early ages. I used a manual pump pellets gun at age of 8 then later when I was 14 years old my father bought me the Squibman bolt action 22 cal. Rifle. I grow up in survival way and remedy is always available what ever circumstances may come. Hunting was my favorite sports because it gave us good food. The forested rivers, rice fields and mountains around our house is a very good source of food supply. The river is very rich abundant of shells like, Agurong, Susu, Dukyang, Bisokol. Dalag, Paltat and Gurami is plenty.
The Struggle ? Your future and your life is in your own hands. Now the key is in your activity, the level of your courage, enjoyment and endurance towards what you do for your future. The person who can overcome the difficulties, struggles through each day of his life and still manages to conquer the frustrations, mistakes, and failures, is in a better position to win the battle and a success in life.
The Dream 1970's I had joined and graduated the Midshipmen Cadet Officer Training Corps ( NROTC) at Feati University. As an officer of the Naval Reserved Officer Training Corps, I was trained to be a strong leader and a commander. We did our training exercises at Fort Bonifacio by the PMMA ground. After finishing my basic and advance training, I enlisted as a reserved officer for the Philippine Navy with the Rank of Ensign then LT Junior Grade. Every year as a reserved officer I had to take a refresher officer's training for one or three months with the Navy. After a few years I was commissioned as s Lieutenant Senior Grade Reserved.
The Time has come. 1974 I had graduated Marine Engineering and immediately applied for my overseas Seaman's Book at the Philippine Coast Guard. I prepared all my papers and eager to join the Merchant Marines. That same year I was luckily hired as Apprentice Engineer for overseas Ocean going Vessel. It was not so easy to apply and get in. I have to look for a Ninong and good recommendation. There is always the Palakasan,... with Gods willing I came to board my first ship to Hong Kong.
Before we go on with the Journey let me look back for a while!!!!!!!!!!!
When I look back !!!!!From the very remote country side of Pitombayog Sitio Bariwawa, Katipunan or so, I always come to look back to the old days. When I was a very young boy who dreamt of luxury and wealth, I struggled very hard to overcome the creeping poverty and lack of education, which was a problem to every child in that very remote country side of Mayantoc. As a normal young teenager I also fell in love with the beautiful girls of the Philippines, but because of poverty those girls were just a dream - no matter how much I loved them- my mind was set to leave for a better life. Life in college was a bitter struggle, with very limited money. The struggle was so intense my body almost gave up, but my mind was very strong with its longing for success.
Lets continue sailing with my life at sea as time pass by:
These were some of my previous ships. From 1974 Apprentice Marine Engineer up to Second Marine Engineer 1985. If there was no available opening as an officer, I accepted any available position such as Wiper, Oiler, Boiler Operator, Welder, Fitter and Machinist. It was very important to me to have a Job.!!!!! A new beginning in Hawaii 1986 .
My first Ship M.V. Lavander, was my first ship from 1974-1975. I was 22 years old and fresh from college. I graduated with a Degree in Marine Engineering, and became employed as an Apprentice Engineer. The ship was a general cargo, lumber and log ship. I took my ship to Hong Kong, which was my home port. There were a lot of Filipino women working as domestic helpers. Like me, they were also trying to escape the hard life where they came from. During Wednesday and Sunday we got together in the park. We would go for a picnic and dancing in the Stella Maries Seaman's Club. And more,,,,,??? Our ship sailed for Manila, which was our port of entry to the Philippines. We load hundred and thousand of tons of Lumber and logs from Manila, Davao, Cotabato, Abulog Cagayan and other small ports around Philippines. After 3 to 4 months of loading the very big ship, we start sailing bound for Europe. Our first stop was Singapore for bunkering or refueling for the long trip. Then we proceeded to the Indian Ocean towards Europe. After half a month of navigation, the first land we approach is the middle east. Passing the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea, we finally come to the entrance of the Suez Canal. Because the canal was so narrow during those early years, the ship had to go with a convoy In the starboard and portside of the ship you can see remnants of war equipment destroyed during the war of Egypt and Israel. Out from Suez Canal is the Mediterranean Sea. After a few days we come to the Port of Gibraltar, which was a narrow out passage to the Atlantic Ocean. On the Portside is Morocco and the Starboard side is Spain. Our first unloading port is Barcelona, Tarragona and Cartagena in Spain. Then we headed to Bordeaux France, Italy, Antwerp etc.,,, and all other ports of Europe.
My first Passages to the Suez Canal
My first passage to the Suez canal was 1974, a few years just after the war of Israel and Egypt. At that time the canal was newly open after an extensive cleanup on mines and other war related debris. Some Egyptian traders came aboard our ship and sold many kinds of items, such as the statue of Cleopatra made of bronze from melted bullets from the war. At that time the canal was so narrow that most of the bigger ships like the super tankers were not allowed to pass thru. From my ship, I could see some of the pyramids and destroyed houses. The name of my ship at that time was MV LAVANDER. Routing Asia to Europe.
Athens, the spectacular capital city of Greece, is home to over one third of the Greek population. The capital city since 1834, the total land area of Athens is around 250 square miles (340 square kilometers). Athens is one of the most vibrant and dazzling cities in Europe and its unique blend of old and new has made it a popular destination for both business and leisure. Athens is one of the few places on earth that can boast a history of over 5000 years. Athens was my home Port with my Ship MT Hassan B. This was a tanker ship with more than 100,000 tons. We come back to this port very often. I loved this wonderful place and I met lots of Filipino Nurses and Midwifes working at the Hospital. Acropolis is located at Athens Greece, which is one of the historical tourist attraction.
Second Ship The first Stop Port of entry to Europe. Salerno Italy MV GOODVIEW.
From a very long melancholic rough and smooth navigation from Asia, here comes our first stop and port of entry to Europe. Salerno Italy, is a small country paradise city belted with mountain ranges and decorated with beautiful old European houses. A breathtaking beauty that is extended toward the shoreline and magnificent beaches. It's one of the most beautiful scenes a person can ever imagined. It's a very beautiful place.
As soon as we're alongside and cleared with the Custom and Immigration immediately rush ashore. People in this area during those year didn't know Filipino's they think we are Japanese. There's a lot of beautiful girls in Italy. We are always in a rush and eager to find a girlfriend and it's not very difficult when you are young and fast. Time is very short we have to learn the skill. The most effective bait for love is lots of present from other countries and tons of promises it is always a guarantee do the trick.
We discharged some of our cargo then proceeded to many Ports of Europe, Genoa Italy, La Specia, Barcelona Spain, Taragona, Pasahes, Rotterdam Holland, Antwerp, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Finland, England and France. MV LAVADER AND MV GOODVIEW ARE SISTER SHIP with the same route.
The "Free and Hanseatic City” of Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest metropolis with one of Europe’s biggest ports. Elegant and cosmopolitan, Hamburg is now a city of palatial office buildings, magnificent promenades, international musicals, extravagant shopping malls – and the famous Reeperbahn and St. Pauli. The magical aura of faraway places is still alive in the old warehouse quarter and the little canals. Hamburg is also Germany’s greenest city, with many spacious lawns and lovely parks.
Discharging our Cargo from Asia took us 2 months of unloading to so many Ports of Europe. As we unload we began loading cargos to the empty hatches as per telex of the Company. The Ship keeps sailing from one place to another. In France, our New cargo is raw materials for Oil and Grease. Our ship sail into a river with a very strong current. The buoyancy of fresh water is lesser than the salt water which make our ship submerge below the water line. Bordeaux Port is a country I need to hitch ride to go to the City or Town. Taxi is not available in the Port and most of the people can not understand English.
Spain is our next destination, We loaded Rocks a Raw materials for making Steel . In Russia we loaded cement bound for Dubai. We keep loading up the big ship in so many countries in Europe. On our way home to Hong Kong, we discharge cargos to so many Ports .Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and then back to Hong Kong. It would be almost a year before we got back to the Home port.
Towards the Black Sea to Russia MV Good View
Checking out the log it's over two weeks since we departed Singapore, our stop over for bunkering or refueling. We pass Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and Suez Canal. It's the beginning of Winter time , the cold breeze of Europe meets us as we exit the Suez at Port Said Egypt. Our discharging destination is Russia . We change course to 20 degree Starboard bound towards the Black sea. Along the way we pass several countries. On the Starboard side we pass Israel Cyprus and Turkey. Going into Eagan sea the Channel is becoming narrower. Looking on the Port side is Greece , Bulgaria then Istanbul Turkey. Passing underneath the Bridge. About 100 to 500 meters away to the shore line. The beautiful different views both starboard and port side is amazing. I like to sit down on the top of the upper deck and watch every scenery. I was off duty at that time so I have all the benefits of watching this spectacular beauty of nature. Black is about one nautical miles away and the weather is changing.
Black Sea MT HASSAN B
It was almost Sunset when we reach the opening of Black Sea. From a very calm water in the Channel it becomes a big swell. The challenger and the destroyer of dreams is the weather "Big waves" is starting to grow like mountains. I could fell the strong current the big swell and the ship start to rock and swing side to side over 20 degrees with a staggered vibration from the Rudder as the Propeller struggle to play with the waves. There is a typhoon as sparky announce but there is no way to avoid. It comes with a strong rainfall and the ocean was just like a hole of darkness. The ship keeps going and must go on. We rely only on compass and the sextant plotting the route of our navigation. There was no GPS navigation at that time. We have to use mathematics calculation thru the stars and other heavenly bodies. Every one will get sea sick on the first strike of the bad weather but after few days our body get used to the motion and the sea sickness start to disappear.
Arrival in Russia
From a very discouraging sea sick every one aboard seems to wake up from a bad dream and start a new very exciting arrival to the Port of Novorossiysk. As soon the custom and immigration clear our entry immediately dress up and get ready to explore the new found land. As expected there are so many exciting places and things to do in Russia. Every thing is very cheap the food and drinks.Just like a bird in the cage to freedom. Russia is a very nice place for Good time. We have limited money to bring ashore but most of us keep our US Dollar and change it in the black market. There's also a curfew, We have to be back at the ship before 12:00 midnight. I have a lot of Good time with had a very beautiful girlfriend. I was only 22 years old at that time. We went to Taste the winery, Museum, and spend most time at the Stella Maries Seaman's Club. Where Vodka Champagne and Girls made us forget the life at sea till midnight.
Anapa - Russia's Wine Capital
As one of Russia's favorite
tourist cities, Anapa has comfortable hotels and recreation and
transportation facilities. Anapa is also home to Anapa Kinoshok, a
international film festival held every year in September
Unforgettable Experience in Russia
I went to Russia several times and knows most the street and places to go. Saudi Trader is my Third ship that sail to the Same Port. The first one is MV Good View, second is MT Hassan B and the third is Saudi Trader. Like most of the trip we went to every Seamen could passively reach. Have all the happiness we can have just like there is no more tomorrow to come. On this trip my pass was suspended because one night I was not able to come back to the Ship on time. The immigration and custom was looking for me. I was with a friend house and almost forget to back to my Ship. Sometimes the time is so fast and forget it's time to go home. I was questioned and detained for several hours and my pass was revoked. It was not to bad because the ship was sailing the next day.
My girl friend was left behind with a a very good promise that I will come back. It's a promise that is always made to be broken.
United Arabs Emirates
It was a gorgeous beautiful morning making our exit at Suez toward the Red Sea. On the starboard side view the mystical barren dessert mountains while on the Port side is the plain dessert plains that the sun reflection from both sides made the sea like Red color. I was wondering the reason why they called it the Red Sea? Further more is the Arabian Sea then we change course 25 degrees port side making an entry to the Gulp of Oman heading to the Persian Gulp. Sarjah, was our first discharging port then Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Shore leave. It was a very hot time of liberty when we get a Taxi cab to the City shopping area. Over 115 degrees oven like temperature. A very hot summer and time of Ramadan. Because of the weather we sweat like hell and our body was dehydrated and needed water. We needed water, we are so thirsty that seems my entire skull is out. We were so weak start to get shock shake clammy. We are dying all the store is open but it's Ramadan it's against the law to eat or drink before six PM. The law is there religion anyone caught eating or drinking will be incarcerated and jailed with out question or trial. I can't go on no more strength then one Pakistani foreigner bring us to a hidden Room and Gave us water. It was the best feeling but we decided to go back to our ship and go back after six PM when everything is normal.
Syros Island Nudist Camp
Every year the company assigned me to different ship with a different route as expected. This time my ship is a Tanker ship . I flew from Manila to Athens Greece to my New ship MT Hassan B. The ship is on a Dry-dock at Syros a tiny Island several miles away from Piraeus and Athens. We stayed there for about a month for all the major repair in the Boiler, Main Engine and Generators. Every one is on day ship work except the AB on deck. During the week end we explore the Island and hang out at the nudist camp which is only mile away from us.
Most of the people in the nudist camp is from mainland Europe. Every one is friendly and naked boys and girls. I love the scenery of white meat scattered along the Beaches and the Mountain side. You can see the different sizes of human structure. I love talking to the women in this kind of attire or no attire at all. My eyes focused to the main attraction however my brain felt shyness but then the girls help you overcome the unusual experience. We go dancing in the Disco house with in the Camp itself. Here you can wear a short or you can be naked. I prefer dancing with a short.
Along the Beach every one must be naked otherwise people will be looking at you. They said if you don't like to be naked just go to the other side of the hill. There is another Beach for the public which is not for nudist people. We have a lot of choices but I like it here. I am young and very strong for any kind of action.
Actually I encounter a lot of action in the area .Together with my friend we comb the vicinity talked to a lot of girls till we found girls who spoke English and later become friends. We have the whole day of persuasion and courtship making sure we will have them come to our ship by night fall. Like always give them lot's of present, care for them with respect and again tons of promises. What do you expect when you are in the twenties. The blood is very hot and aggressive and every minute is action there is no wasted time otherwise you will regret during time of navigation.
The ship is almost finished and getting ready for our departure to the Persian Gulp where there is nothing but sand and dessert. A very boring place there is no good time but fishing.
A Place in Scandinavia
Norway, Sweden and Denmark is a part of the Scandinavian country. This place is very beautiful. The economy is great. This is where the car Volvo is made. Shipping is one of the greatest livelihood of the people. I have a lot of friends and shipmates from this area.
Norway's Fjords plus an incredibly scenic drive from Oslo to Bergen along the edge of Telemark, through the Hardanger Vidda - Fjord.Experience the highlights of Norway with a wonderful mix of scenery and sights. Including stunning fjords, spectacular glaciers, and splendid museums. Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Hurtigrute) Nordic's Grand Sailing Splendors plus our Norway's Fjords and Countryside Program.
Cruising the Panama Canal 1979 MS HALLVARD AND MS HALLDOR SISTER SHIP
We are entering from the Pacific side, the first thing one sees is the "Bridge of the Americas." In that area were 60 boats waiting to transverse the canal. Some would wait for a couple of days before doing so. Since we had a reservation we would begin our journey through the canal right on time.
We went through two series of locks that raised us 85 feet. It was fascinating to view the ships in the locks ahead of us 27 feet higher than we were.
The locks demonstrated the ingenuity of the U.S. engineers. Each lock is 110 feet wide and 1000 feet long. The water comes in through the force of gravity, there are no pumps. This is the Roughly midway through our transit we entered Gatun Lake, one of the world's largest man-made lakes. The many islands in the lake are actually the tops of hills. People can buy an island, but they can only build a grass hut on it.
The final locks -- Gatun -- had three chambers to lower us 85 feet to sea level. On this end (further west than the Pacific side) we could look down on the ships preceding us through the canal. In our case we had been been playing tag with a cargo ship from Brazil that was carrying a load of copper to Europe. In this photo you can see how much lower it is in the lock to our right.
From the very long years journeying as a Merchant Marine, it came to a certain point of maturity that I wanted to have my own family and get married . A time came of making a very critical decision at the age of 27. After weighing all aspect of life and love and through the advice of my parents, who at that time wanted to see USA , I made a very critical choice. I decide to get married to my true love in Hawaii. I went back to the ship for two more years. This time I planned to built a house of my own so I boarded a Tanker ship stationed only in the Persian Gulp. There is no good time no girls all work only. After I finished my tour of duty at that ship I went home to the Philippines and Built my home in front of the Tarlac College of Agriculture " TCA". It's a beautiful concrete house.
1986 That is the time when the Philippines is very much in trouble. After the assassination of the late Senator Binigno Aquino in the Airport the country became unstable. There was a lot of rallies and demonstration. The dictatorship of the old regime seems to come to an end. I decided to join my family in Hawaii. It was February 26 1986 of that same year I finally made my decision to stay close to my family in USA.
So many more stories in all parts of the world but lets cut it short and see my life in Hawaii USA. To be Continued.................... Click the ship below Find me on MySpace and be my friend!
This site was last updated 04/15/11